A show of hands from those of you who have already fallen off the wagon of your New Year’s resolutions? Right, I thought so. This post, now two weeks past the date I had set on my schedule – one of my resolutions – is living proof of why my hand is raised high, too.
By mid-February, the newness of January’s resolutions has likely diminished quite a bit, just as the excitement over winter’s first snow has worn thin, with each new snowfall the wonder of it replaced by the weariness of having to clear the driveway yet again. The excitement and resolve with which we all begin a new year can become frayed as the hard work it takes to stay with a promise made to yourself becomes a reality.
By now, I am over winter and ready for spring, but I recognize that no matter the time of year, there are often “winters” of the spirit, too, times when we are weary, overwhelmed with the minutiae of our days and weeks, and just feeling uninspired by life. The sky is cold and gray, and so are we.
This would be a moment to say something along the lines of “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” True enough but we’ve all been around long enough to know it isn’t always that easy. Maybe the tough going we face is related to poor health, grief, financial concerns, depression, or just big life questions, to which there are no easy answers, no readily available bootstraps with which we can pull ourselves back to our feet.
It is during these winters of the spirit, that maybe a gentler approach is needed to achieving the goals set with so much enthusiasm in January. John D. Rockefeller once said, “I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.” To persevere through the winter in anticipation of the spring, to not give up, but to do your best to stick with it, even if ‘it’ – whatever ‘it’ is – falls short of what you hoped to accomplish. Maybe it is late, but here it is, and maybe that is enough. Enough to do, enough to expect, enough to carry me through until the new habits are formed, and the second wind of springtime hits in oh about a month or so.